Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mystic John

It's the feast of one of the great poets and  mystics and teachers in the Church: St. John of the Cross. 
Salvadore Dali, "Christ of St. John of the Cross"
{Dali...when he's weird, he's very very weird, but when he's good, he's gripping.}

He wasn't a wild eyed dark compelling figure, as you or I might imagine.  By accounts he was rather plain to look at.  I love it how  you just never know....can't tell what's going on by looking at the outside. So easy to forget, that.  Anyhow, inside he was on fire with love and was able to understand the beauty of the "dark night of the soul."   It is for this that he is known...and by myself at least, often approached with a little fear and trembling to take in and on his words.  Which is silly in it's own way.  But his 'rep' precedes him.  I mean, no one wants to be in the "dark night," do they? Of course not! Not me, either.  

John knows of that tough spot, desolation, suffering, difficulty in prayer, and yet, he knows it's bounty as well and the beauty that can be found even in that.  He writes beautifully of the call to die to one's self.  No small feat that, but in that, in bearing life's crosses, we become more truly us and therefore closer to God.  





He also wrote that "Silence is God's first language."  Which of course is probably why I yammer on and on at God in my prayers instead of listening as I need to.  Oy. See, so much for me to learn! That's one of the reasons I like St. John too, he is a teacher. 
But his works and writings are so much more than that...ultimately they are of love, the truest deepest love and how we can find it.  
See, it gets more compelling by the minute.  
My favorite quote of his is this;

"Where there is no love, put love -- and you will find love." 

St. John of the Cross, pray for us!

Icon by Lynne Taggart
Collect of the Day: John of the Cross, 1591
O God, by whose grace your servant John of the Cross, kindled with the flame of your love, became a burning and a shining light in your Church:
Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and walk before you as children of light; 
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

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